The forecast was for a decent enough day in this my 4th year of riding this audax. Usually it hammers it down but it was nice enough as we gathered at the start. It’s a popular ride with a big field – I saw many familiar faces including Peter, Nephi, Mike, Mike and Lucky Gaz. The mass start saw us climb up to Heptonstall, and I wasn’t looking forward to it on my heavy Raleigh. As it turned out, I went up it reasonably quickly near the front – I think my legs are starting to get used to the bike and recovering from the shock of going from my 7kg summer bike to this 11kg beauty!
As we reached Heptonstall we continued to climb past the little camp with the wigwam and it became extremely misty, like we were surging up into the clouds. Some were surging, others were stuttering, but despite my cold (the second in a matter of weeks) I felt good and was climbing well. It’s a funny thing fog – it seems to dampen any sound and all you could here was the whirring of tyres and the sound of breathing. Eventually we reached the top and burst through the mist into beautiful blue skies and sunshine, the view of Pendle resplendent in front of us for miles.
A bit of urban zig and zag through terraced suburbs of Burnley and we were back into the countryside and descending towards Sabden, the Nick o’ Pendle in full view to our right. I love that climb and there were few cars out so it was nice, and the descent saw me hitting 48mph.
A nice scone at the Cafe and then it was up Waddington Fell, down into Newton before turning back, through Slaidburn and up and out. A long ride across the moors until we dodged back through terraced suburbs again and then back onto the moors for a stop and a piece of chocolate cake at the Caldwell Centre. Straight away there was a big climb up to Widdap, which has a lovely valley spreading below and to your left, before a few more undulations and a fast descent into Hebden Bridge.
No wonder this is a popular ride, and for once, the weather did it justice!
Ride stats : 62 miles in 4hrs 13m at 14.8mph average. 7,407ft climb, 3,707kcals energy used. Average HR 146bpm